Artist Spotlight: Marie Pederson and Color Me Shabby

Life’s turmoils sometimes provide a silver lining. When a family member became ill about five years ago, Marie Pederson and her mother Dorane started working with wood as a way to cope with the stress they were feeling. Marie explains, “We started refurbishing pieces of furniture and then found a love of making signs. We have always loved things that have a history or a story to them. That’s something that we loved about furniture was where it came from and it translated well to barnwood signs. We love the wear and tear the boards have, all the groves and wholes and patina tell something about the wood.”E5311AB2-B555-490D-9ACB-20660BC2DA5C - Marie Pederson

Color Me Shabby uses pieces of old barnwood to create decorative signs. Marie Pederson  loves taking pieces of wood with dings, scratches, knots, and holes to turn it into a beautiful sign for your home.5DF61960-833F-4BBE-B9E4-81FCF0D44BBA - Marie Pederson

The imperfections of the wood are why make it so unique and what makes it worthwhile to work with.700AABBC-AD1B-4EB4-90B9-DAB7EBA20BD7 - Marie Pederson (1)

Our sign wood come from barns that are falling down and crumbling. We take that wood and cut it to size create our signs.Color Me Shabby- Marie Pederson

Marie Pederson and Color Me Shabby is at Table #7.

Artist Spotlight: Julie Wilson and The Department of Work

Not all creative efforts become art. Not all reclaimed items are for visual enjoyment. Some, like the cast iron cookware Julie Wilson is offering, are for use….and a LOT of cooking creativity and enjoyment.

Cast iron has long been a treasured cookware, typically used over time in more rustic environments like cattle drive chuck wagons and at grandma’s house out in the country. But modern cooks everywhere are rediscovering the benefits of cooking in cast iron. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to care for the cast iron and it can rust and become unusable for cooking.AE3C37E8-7EF1-4A17-89A3-5EC3B3BB0DB9 - Department of Work

That’s where Julie Wilson and The Department of Work steps in, complete with elbow grease. She refurnishes the cookware she finds at yard sales and thrift stores by scrubbing off the rust and reseasoning the pans so they are ready to go, good as new. E4EECC16-8BA5-4FF0-8AD4-38869AF5D873 - Department of Work

This is another kind of zero waste; one that restores old items to make them usable again.  Julie says, “We rescue unloved cast iron cookware. We clean it and reseason it so it can get back to work. 100% sustainable, healthy, and affordable.” And better than that, Julie adds, “Cooking is a creative act of love which makes the kitchen the heart of the home. When food is prepared in cookware, especially cast iron with a history, magic is at work.”2BC71B40-2FB9-4AFB-ACBF-4670C809E03B - Department of Work

“I grew up recycling before there was even a name for it; it’s just what you did. I learned from my mother and grandparents. I learned to sew by watching my mother which lead to a career as a professional costume technician: From a two dimensional sketch I made three dimensional items of clothing for performers to wear. I specialized in the non-garment items, the fun stuff like armor, jewelry, hats and shoes. So I used my hands and was often given materials of unknown origins to make the desired object. This life took me to Ashland for 12 seasons, 7 years in Seattle at the various performance venues, and almost 3 years in Las Vegas working for Cirque du Soleil.
I returned to my beloved Oregon and in so doing, knew I was retiring from costuming. There are only so many jobs and I was ready for a “big shift”. The shift came when, after vending vintage decor at flea markets, my beloved and I went camping and he realized he needed the activity of slow cooking to keep him busy – I was good with sitting in the sun with a good book. His research into the use and (consequent restoration) of cast iron cookware created an overstock of items that we needed for that next camping trip. So it got sold at the next flea market, and the next one, and the next one…….. His cast iron became the main attraction and I realized that I had just walked through a major door of opportunity. 59DC334B-7285-4113-81D6-091E5FD4BBC1 - Department of Work
I am now fully committed to rescuing unloved cast iron. I love that I am offering an affordable, healthy, and sustainable product. I love bringing these pieces back to life and find such joy when a customer finds just the right piece, whether it is adding to their collection or is their very first piece. I have created a vocation where I continue to use my hands, interact with folks who are passionate about cooking, and am always learning about these amazing products from so many different peoples and cultures.  I am living the life of a crafts person and hear from customers, “Thank you for doing this!”, when they see the huge variety of rescued cookware. It’s a good life!”


Julie Wilson and The Department of Work is located at Table #26.


Artist Spotlight: Penelope Bellus and Oh Sew Penny

When Penny’s mother taught her to sew when she was twelve years old, she
immediately fell in love with the craft.  She started making her own clothes and
later made her daughter’s clothes, as well as children’s clothes and baby
comforters for a children’s store.  Though she took a break while pursuing
a “real” job, sewing has remained a creative outlet for her throughout her

Penny has been recycling for many years, and recently started to mesh that
with her craft.  She discovered that there are so many vintage linens still out there that
are not being used because they have holes or stains.  Many of these end
up in the landfill.  All of my aprons are made from vintage linens, most from the 1940s and 50s. She mainly uses tablecloths, but also has feed sacks, dish towels, and vintage yardage and embellishes them with doilies, hankies, dresser scarves, rick rack, and lace.  OSP p4

Penny says, “They don’t make cottons of this quality anymore, and
I love being able to upcycle them. I can cut around the flaws and make
my aprons.  Something considered useless is now a work of art, as well
as something useful once again.”oh Sew Penny aprons


Penelope Bellus and Oh Sew Penny are located at Table #13.

Artist Spotlight: John “Sam” Houston and Papa Sam’s Workshop

John’s initial introduction to woodworking was watching his father-in-law working on his ShopSmith woodworking system. And when he let John try a few things, the die was cast. No issue, when his father-in-law passed, it was decided that John should get the system.

However, it sat for approximately 25 years as  John was working and didn’t have time to devote to it.  Upon retirement he decided to give it a try.   “Soon I was churning out boxes and bowls to the point my wife asked if I could find a way to “get rid” of some of them which led me to the Saturday Market/ Bazaar world.”



Not being wealthy, John looked for materials everywhere.  “My initial source was my firewood pile then when I noticed neighbors  tossing trimmings into the trash, I grabbed those hoping  I could transform them into something useful. Recently a neighbor was replacing a wooden fence that had fallen and was going to toss the old boards. I offered to swap him new boards for the old ones giving me a wealth of 20+year-old weathered planks to use.  They now have a second life as treasure chest boxes or wine caddies.”



John Houston and Papa Sam’s Workshop is located at Table #36.  John is one of the organizers of the festival. 

The Magic of Reuse

One of the easiest ways to be environmentally conservative is to use and reuse items you have until they actually no longer provide the function needed.  Basically, someone who is environmentally aware does NOT replace their cell phone or car or other things every year or two without knowing how to repurpose the item.

Almost all of us now have mobile phones that fit in our pockets and connect us to the world easily. Perhaps you have a love-hate relationship with the device; maybe you just love all  that it does: reach your mom and assure her that yes, you still are alive; connect you to your BFF to make plans for the evening; use the map ap to find that new restaurant everyone is talking about; add items to your shopping list and not forget it at home on the table when you go to the store; verify the latest crazy post on Facebook before you jump on the bandwagon and it turns out to be full of baloney.

That small piece of electronic hardware and software is not without environmental costs, however. On top of the energy and cost associated with extracting the materials that go into a cellphone, the disposal of cellphones often leaves a toxic imprint on the environment. That’s because:

• Printed circuit boards contain toxic metals including lead, nickel, and beryllium.
• Liquid crystal displays contain mercury.
• Batteries may contain nickel and cadmium, particularly older ones.
• Plastics may contain brominated flame retardants, that are toxic and persist in the environment. Studies suggest they accumulate in household dust and in the food chain, and they have been detected in some fish.

While it is very fashionable to replace your cell phone every 18 months or two years, the equipment should last at least double that time as long as updates still work. Getting a new phone just to get a new phone is a type of consumerism that needs reconsideration.  If your phone is not longer holding its charge, that makes sense. If you just want something new, you must have a lot of extra money…may we suggest donating to an organization that does good work (hint: Zero Waste McMinnville is a 501(c)3 organization).

Many cell phone owners have several old phones no longer in use and thrown into some drawer. There is a better place for it.

There are many organizations which accept them. Some are overseas and help provide connection to the world for people living in rural areas. Others are nearby. For example, Henderson House in McMinnville accepts old cell phones for their clients, people who have escaped situations where domestic abuse made them concerned for their safety.

The How Stuff Works website suggests an old phone can become a permanent GPS in your car. By hooking it up and leaving it in the car (out of sight) you no longer have to mess around hooking up your current mobile, connecting it to Bluetooth and the charger cable.

Image result for cell phone gps
Use a dash or air vent mount

An old cell phone also can be the music device of choice for your walks, camping trips, or time on the beach. Even if it is not connected to your phone plan, it can be used to dial 911 in an emergency.  You need not worry about damage (sand, water, etc).   beach phone

Plugged into a power outlet, an old cell phone can also serve as a baby monitor with an app that will keep it and you alert..

Image result for cell phone as baby monitor

An old phone also can serve as a low cost Go-Pro with a universal headmount or way to attach it to your bicycle.  Speaking of photos, many of us have an incredible photo collection on our mobile phones and are concerned about losing them if the phone is stolen. How about downloading them to an old phone!

These are examples of how a piece of equipment, important to your life, can be used in many ways after its useful life in its primary role is over. Reuse is better than the landfill!!!




Kick It OUT of Your Life!!!

Plastic…….that word has become a challenge. Anyone older than 50 can remember things that are commonly plastic now were made from something else when we were young. Paper straws for drinking. Metal lunch boxes. Metal cups for nonbreakable travel. Waxed paper for wrapping a sandwich.  Paper grocery bags used for school book covers. Image result for vintage metal lunch boxes

Then, we felt the joy of how plastic lasted longer and that fascination started taking over. Plastic straws don’t tear. Plastic lunch boxes come in all shapes. Plastic coated paper cups from the coffee kiosk. Plastic wrap keeps a tighter seal. The plastic coated book covers resist spills.

Image result for 1960s plastic lunch box  Image result for plastic lunch boxes vintage





And now, after years of comfortable use, we understand that plastics have a pretty large environmental footprint with its petroleum component. We are disappointed that plastic lined paper coffee cups can not be recycled and don’t break down for composting. We understand better that it never decomposes, so when it gets thrown “away”, it lands in the local landfill, with all its attendant environmental issues.  We recognize that paying money to use something only once has a recurring effect on your shopping budget.

And we’ve become wiser. We’ve chosen stainless steel straws that can be cleaned and reused forever or until we misplace them when we move.  That cloth bags come in various shapes and sizes and can carry our food for lunch easily. That beeswax infused food wrappers can keep our sandwich fresh. That there are easy to carry hot beverage containers that can be filled at the coffee shop. That paper grocery bags or newspaper work just fine as school book covers. Image result for eco lunch box

And we’re helping others learn by developing a “Zero Waste carry bag” on the go so we can tell them to “hold the straw” when you get a cold drink, or “fill my cup” when you order a coffee. We have a real squishable shopping bags in a pocket, so I’m not caught without a reusuable bagif I stop at a store.Eco-Cycle logo

eco cycle in Boulder, Colorado has suggests a series of challenges you can do to reduce the amount of plastic that you use. 

Start building (and using!) your own Zero Waste on-the-go kit . Many wasteful plastic items come into our lives when we are on-the-go and it’s hard to avoid them if we’re not prepared with reusable alternatives. Make a kit stocked with reusable options and show disposables who’s boss!
We recommend including the items below in your Zero Waste on-the-go kit, but feel free to pick and choose:
  • Reusable, non-plastic beverage containers—stainless steel coffee mugs, glass or stainless steel water bottles. Mason jars are affordable and work, too!
  • Reusable totes—Keep one in your purse, backpack, car or bike so you always have one on hand.
  • Cotton produce bags—Make your own using old pillow cases, clothes, or scrap fabric. Can’t sew? Eco-Bags and Etsy are great sources for cloth produce bags (we especially like this set with the tare weight marked).
  • Stainless steel food containers for take-out or leftovers.
  • Reusable straws—e.g., Bamboo, steel, or glass (and a straw cleaning brush!)
  • Utensil sets- there are many non-plastic travel utensil sets available, or you can make your own with metal silverware wrapped in cloth napkins. Keep a few in your kit to share!
*Thrift shops are a great place to pick up silverware, cloth napkins, reusable water bottles, and travel coffee mugs for your to-go kit!

We CAN do this!!!  We can reduce our plastic use!!!

Being a Better Steward

The Bible urges us to be good stewards of the earth….to treat it with respect and care as we mine, farm, and build factories; as we live in or near cities with their traffic and congestion and pollution issues. We often can feel overwhelmed when we hear about the ozone layer being affected, by many water sources now full of chemicals.

Whatever denomination of Christianity you may be or if you belong to another religion or do not practice any faith, there is a reason Earth Day was established in 1970 and this April 20th there is just as many reasons, if not more, to  be concerned and get involved.

A headstart is offered by the Anglican Church. They are offering ways to reduce your plastic consumption during the 40 days of Lent.

Now, I personally am not Anglican, but I can appreciate the effort to encourage us. All of these are important. Some are easy to implement. Others might be a bit more challenging. But can you imagine how much cleaner this world will become if more of us become better stewards?

Check it out!  To read it more clearly go to this link.


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Focusing On The Goal

Dreamers who get angry just enough that so many just can’t see what is right in front of them.  These are the ones who understand just what a precious place our home in space is, this Earth. And these are the ones who also understand that others do not have that enlightenment about our environment, and so they decide to teach.

Farmers who work the soil to produce nutritious food know the real dirt.  These are the ones who understand just how important clean water is, how the soil must be clear of toxins, how activity on their piece of land affects the land around it.

Children born and yet unborn whose health depends on clean air, clean water, clean food deserve us to sustain a healthy environment.   These are the ones who will be affected with toxicities in the air, water and soil, and whom we have a duty to protect.

Skeptics who shrug and say they are just one person in a sea of stubborn habits. These are the ones who sometimes learn well with carrots (information explaining the benefits of a change in sustainable behavior). And these are also the ones who might need the stick to learn, persuading them to make the small effort to change.

Drive-through and take-out convenience store eaters who have lots of stuff to sort properly. These are the ones who understand which wrappers and containers can be recycled and which, unfortunately, will end up at the landfill. And these are also the ones who refuse to take the few seconds to sort and thereby send more to the landfill, causing our trash service fees to possibly increase.

Businesses who reduce the size of the packaging and switch to recyclable or compostible materials are seeing reduced packaging costs overall. These are the ones who are willing to consider a change to new materials as not only a resident of the Earth but recognize a popular marketing move also.

People who appreciate the beauty of McMinnville and the surrounding countryside probably also feel that each and every time they drive home from Portland.  These are the ones who know that litter is an eyesore and so carry their trash home for proper sorting. These are the ones who go the step further and pick up any litter they see.

People who get it, who understand each of us is a tiny but important part of the Whole and we each can help by making sustainable choices.  These are the ones who pitch in, maybe one event a year or maybe more. These are also the ones who can’t personally work on the programs but can help be Sustaining Circle members who can add financially to support the activities.

All these and also you. We can make Zero Waste McMinnville zero waste by 2024!!!




Reduce. Most of us may first think of weight loss when you hear that word, but in the world of Zero Waste it means something much easier to achieve, at least for me. To reduce means to lessen the amount of items you use that end up needing to be sent to the landfill or incinerator.


My daughter lives in California so, like many of her neighbors, she made great efforts to reduce her water usage during the past few years of extreme drought. Because of efforts like hers, the state’s residents reduced their water usage much more than the expected goal with the mandated restrictions.

One example of conserving water that went well beyond the simple effort to turn off the tap while brushing her teeth was to place several buckets in the tub while the water was warming up for a shower. That cool water was then used to irrigate their garden, producing an abundance of tomatoes and other items without requiring any additional water. Now THAT was a win win!!

Conserving resources is one way to reduce. Others are just small tricks and trade-offs that can really add up.

For example, in the summer I get carrots from local farms at the farmers’ market, but in the off season I am dependent on my local grocery store.  For years I purchased carrots in one or two-pounds bags.  A recent trip to Roth’s provided an interesting and pleasant surprise! img_2014img_2015 So it really makes sense…and cents… buy the loose carrots. Don’t bother putting them into a plastic bag provided in the produce section. You can carry them home in your shopping bag without that extra plastic that can not be recycled and would end up in the landfill.



img_2018When we moved to Oregon I was surprised and very pleased with all the choices I had in the bulk section. One of our weaknesses is the freshly ground peanut butter. It is perfectly acceptable to carry in a previously used and washed container and lid to refill. I use and reuse the same plastic container and lid often.  When we eat the last of the peanut butter, I wash them and place them in one of my shopping totes to bring back into the store. If you prefer to use glass you will need to tare the extra weight, so check with your supermarket on how they prefer you mark the container.

I think McMinnville’s  largest bulk grocery section is in WinCo, but all the supermarkets here have them.  They provide nuts, grains, pastas, candy, sugars, flours, dried fruit, coffee and so much more. Some stores have bulk available for liquids like syrups and honeys. Others have cleaning items. And in other parts of the country there are some local items. I still miss the oranges to make fresh squeezed orange juice I enjoyed one winter years ago when I was in Miami on assignment for three months. Bulk purchasing permits you to obtain the amount you need at prices typically considerably lower than what may be found packaged in excess cardboard and plastic on one of the inside aisles of the supermarket. And that cardboard and plastic needs to be disposed of afterwards….why bother with it at all?img_2019

Once you’ve shopped you need to carry all those yummies from the store to your car and then into your home. The effort to eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags is huge since there is only potential reuse for those, not recycling at this time.  It is better to reduce by opting for reusable cloth bags.

When we moved here we had not started using cloth totes to grocery shop so it had to become a new habit. There were just too many times we forgot to get the bags back to the car until we figured out a simple solution.  As I unpack I push all the totes inside one and then hang that one from the doorknob to grab the next time we head out to the car. Then the only time we really need to remind ourselves to grab them is when we pull into the supermarket parking space.  If anyone has any tricks, please share!img_2021

Here are a few more ideas for reducing how much trash you produce:

img_2025Stop using dryer sheets. I grew up with a mother who did not use any kind of softener, so was happy when dryer softener sheets became available. But about two years ago I stopped using them. Instead I buy liquid softener and use a plastic container (the one I use now had mozzarella in it originally), for dryer top storage. Inside the container is half a kitchen sponge. It soaks up the softener. I squeeze the sponge to reduce how much liquid it holds and then put it in the dryer with each load. The clothes come out with the same softness as the dryer sheets and without all that excess trash.

Never buy bottled water. If you don’t have access to a good well or spring, it is much better to get a reliable water filter and drink from the tap.  Then you can carry a reusable water bottle. This could be as simple as using a mason jar.

img_2024Take a reusable travel mug to the coffee shop or make your coffee at home. Use a French press or coffee maker and avoid those single-serving packages used in Keurig-like machines.  If you prefer those single serving coffees, there are reusable coffee filters that fit in your coffee maker, too!  And of course, standard drip machines have reusable filters.

Take your own reusable containers to takeout restaurants. If you hand over the containers when you order and ask nicely, most restaurants will oblige you. I know that the Saturday breakfast served each week at McMinnville’s Cooperative Ministries provides sit down as well as take-out servings. The expense of the take-out containers is a big factor in the breakfast budget and there has been discussion about asking people to bring their own containers.

Return egg and berry cartons to the vendors at the farmers’ market for reuse. Or use the berry containers when you take advantage of the many pick-your-own opportunities nearby.img_4812

better-than-store-boughtDitch the processed, packaged food altogether. Make your own soup, yogurt, salad dressing, ice-cream and other foods that come in cardboard, aluminum, and plastic packages. Batch cook on weekends with friends to make it easier. You’ll save a ton of money, and eat much, much healthier this way too. Lots of cookbooks on the market including this one can help you see how easy it is!